Bodley Exits PPC to Start a Company Selling What? Why PPC, Of Course

Bodley & Assocs. logoWhen Belden bought PPC at the end of 2012, Eric Bodley thought this was going to be great news for both PPC and its Perfect Path line, where since 2009 he had led the charge in establishing the cable and satellite connector company’s locking HDMI connectors into the custom integration channel. And while he would argue that this acquisition by Belden was, in fact, a good thing for PPC, he soon came to realize that there was a challenge for him that was difficult to address.

That realization led Bodley to leave Belden/PPC and start a new company – to sell PPC…

When a large established company buys a smaller, specialty company, conflicts can arise. Often, these are more cultural conflicts in nature. The large parent has one set of standard operating procedures (SOP)…and the acquired specialty company has their own unique SOPs, which are often quite different.

Belden, a huge cable and connector company, held out the promise – in Bodley’s eyes – of bringing a potentially huge expansion of the PPC product portfolio, that could be beneficial to integrators and help build his market share. It would be a win-win, he mused, as Belden was not currently deeply involved in the residential market – focusing more on the broadcast, industry, and commercial markets.

Master and commander…

Over time, however, Bodley realized that Belden may not have recognized the residential channel as being large enough to motivate them to commit to a significantly expanded investment. Part of the problem is that Belden – like many other large companies – is used to working with large “master distributors,” often national distributors, who handle the distribution of their products to the field.

Photo of Eric Bodley at CEWeek

Eric Bodley showing a Perfect Path HDMI locking connector dealer demonstration kit at CE Week 2013.

On behalf of PPC, Bodley has spent the last five years putting together what he says was a very productive network of sales reps, distributors, and direct installer accounts selling PPC’s locking HDMI connectors, among other products. The idea of trying to move them to some large, general cable or electrical distributor such as Graybar – just didn’t seem as though it would be effective at serving the custom integration channel.

A bold decision…

So Bodley made a bold decision…he would leave the company to start just this type of “master distributor” focused on the custom integration or specialty electronics channel. After some deft, win-win negotiations with Belden – in May, B&A Distributing was born – the CI industry’s master distributor for PPC and Perfect Path products.

Not only B&A Distributing, but Bodley is also bringing his Bodley & Associates consulting/rep firm to bear as well. He envisions combining resources and creating opportunities that will allow him to offer brands such as PPC/Perfect Path – and potentially other brands – an optimal array of services to meet their needs in selling into the CI channel. So whether that means B&A Distributing buying and holding inventory…or Bodley & Associates providing sales services for direct ship – both can be accomplished under one roof, optimized for each individual vendor partner.

Belden cable logoNot inherently unique…

This structure, of course, is not unique, as rep/distributors have existed for several years now. However, today’s rep/distributor is generally regionally based. And while there are a few national rep/distributor groups purporting to offer national coverage, the reality for manufacturers is that these tend to be more multi-regional – with differing local presentations and decision-making – rather than true, consistent national distributing.

Bodley & Associates and B&A Distributing are both true national entities. This should lend itself to greater consistency of presence…and presentation.

What’s a Story Slab?…

And to that end, Bodley has also become involved with a company called Story Slab – a tablet-based app that offers users a better sales presentation platform. Much like our recent post about Spring Deck, Story Slab pulls together resources, regardless of media type, and creates a tablet-based presentation to help sales teams close more sales, more effectively – and more consistently.

Story Slab, Bodley tells us, will be part of the differentiation of his company over others. Basically, the combination of Bodley & Associates, B&A Distributing – and Story Slab – will help manufacturers optimize their sales channel…and their sales process.

The promise of a better experience…

Thanks to his many years of experience in the CI channel, Bodley promises his new companies will offer a better experience for manufacturers. And to deliver that experience, Bodley is actively recruiting reps and distributors to work with as part of his “group.”

“I see where Eric Bodley and Bodley & Associates is going to be within 6 months to a year, is that I will probably have five to six lines of product (or software) that I represent as a national representative group,” Bodley told us. “We’ll have hand-selected representatives who are not line mongers and have 50 lines…and probably not selling [certain large or domineering] lines that demand all of their time.”

A 3-legged stool…

Bodley sees the advantage offered to brands by his group of companies as a “three-legged stool,” including: (1) Representation that is focused on his lines; (2) Distribution that is focused on getting product quickly and efficiently “where it needs to be;” and (3) Making sure that a consistent sales story is being presented on all of his lines.

Bodley and Associates website

Bodley & Associates website

As good as all of this sounds on paper, execution is going to be key. We asked Bodley how he intended to handle distribution – a very resource-intensive business. “It all comes down to logistics,” Bodley said, explaining that he will contract with local distributors who will deliver goods against his orders.

“The key is distributed distributing,” Bodley exclaimed, making it sound easy.

When we expressed further skepticism – noting the incredible challenge of executing on this vision, Bodley told us confidently, “The proof of concept for me is, for the last six months, I’ve been doing it with Perfect Path, PPC and Belden connectors.”

To learn more about Bodley & Associates, B&A Distributing and Story Slab, see their website here…

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